Routine and Realtor just don’t go together. Consider REALTOR® Tina Cheung. Her day, any day, typically begins at 5:30 am. There is paperwork to be done, listings to be scoured—those that have come directly into her office and those through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which aggregates listing data—maybe a house or two, or several, to show, along with a closing and the walk through that precedes it.
And there is also time checking in with Lori Vranish, Manager of Real Estate Lending Sales at Tower, to see how Tower’s HomeAdvantage® program is faring.
Cheung is a HomeAdvantage Real Estate Agent, working through CU Realty Services, a national real estate service which aids home buying and selling for credit union members like those at Tower.
Rebate on commissions
Cheung, who is principal of The Gold Standard Group of RE/MAX Realty Centre in Olney, Maryland, has worked with Tower for nearly a decade, placing members in single family homes, townhomes and condos. The program is unique, in that it gives members who purchase homes money back in the form of a HomeAdvantage Cash Reward at settlement. The Cash Reward is 20 percent of the Real Estate Agent’s commission and Cheung says the arrangement is well worth it.
“I am absolutely thrilled to do it,” she says. Members are already well qualified through the screening they receive from Tower’s Real Estate Lending Sales group, Tower loan advisors “are very reachable,” Tower has its own title company, and the clients “are ready to go,” Cheung said.
Plus, many members have attended the free homebuyer seminars that Tower regularly holds, which includes one for first time buyers.
The referral through Tower begins a process where Cheung and the buyers meet to discuss everything from timeframes to whether the home will have carpet or wood floors. One of the most unusual requests Cheung has received was that the home’s yard not contain too many trees. She doesn’t ask questions, just provides what she feels are the best properties for each client based on their preferences.
Cheung says her success rate with HomeAdvantage clients has been phenomenal. “We show them the homes, we educate our clients, negotiate the purchase, members get their home and everybody is happy,” Cheung said. “We’ve all accomplished what we set out to do.”
In between showing homes, Cheung is calling and e-mailing clients to make sure listings are on the mark, guiding them if the property they have chosen has multiple offers, and giving her opinion, if asked, on a property.
Cheung knows she has other clients through her RE/MAX business, but says there is something special about Tower members. “What I do is a reflection on their financial institution and it is very important a member trust their real estate agent,” Cheung said. “When the referral comes from the credit union it holds quite a lot of weight. When they come to us we are as accommodating and respectful as possible.”